The Get More Smarter Podcast: The Sideshow Bob Defense

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, Congressmen Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) test out some odd impeachment defense strategies; Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) celebrates two years without a town hall event; Colorado Republicans promote a pointless new ballot measure; and the “fairy godmother” of the #resistance, Jessica Zender, plays America’s worst favorite game show, “Duke or Donald.”

The Get More Smarter Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Buzzcloud, Spotify, and Overcast. You can also follow the Podcast on Twitter @MoreSmarterShow. If you have a question or comment, hit us up at AngryRants@GetMoreSmarter.com.

Dems Commemorate Two Years, Zero Cory Gardner Town Halls

It’s an anniversary Sen. Cory Gardner would be happy for Colorado voters to forget:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Tomorrow, November 20th marks the second anniversary of Cory Gardner’s last public open forum town hall, held at the Pueblo Convention Center and attended by several hundred constituents. Weather permitting, there’s an event planned for outside Gardner’s downtown Denver office tomorrow afternoon to commemorate the occasion.

Like the other town halls Gardner belatedly consented to in the fall of 2017, after months of pummeling over his lack of accessibility while newly elected President Donald Trump plowed like a bull in a china shop through Washington, Gardner was booed and heckled in Pueblo robustly as he tried to defend Trump’s then-unpassed tax cuts and other controversial agenda items like repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Gardner has tried to spin the frosty reception he received at his 2017 town halls into a sympathy play, but his persistently lackluster approval ratings suggest strongly that a majority of voters just aren’t sympathetic. Aware of the self-inflicted harm these on-camera constituent floggings were causing, after the 2017 town halls Gardner switched to scripted appearances at friendly businesses and unannounced “walking tours” of main streets–the latter still exposing Gardner to considerable negative attention.

In recent weeks, the situation has deteriorated rapidly for Gardner as he has turned into a nationwide metaphor for Republican verbal paralysis in response to the impeachment inquiry consuming Trump’s presidency. It’s very difficult to see home-front reception improving for Gardner in the upcoming holiday recess, to say nothing of what’s going to happen when Gardner hits the campaign trail in Colorado next year.

One thing’s for sure: Gardner can’t run his whole re-election campaign from Trump fundraisers.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (November 19)

Happy World Toilet Day; please celebrate responsibly. Now, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

The Washington Post catches us up on the latest news on today’s public impeachment hearings:

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified Tuesday that he spoke to an intelligence community official, whom he declined to name, about President Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Vindman also testified in the impeachment proceedings that he was concerned about Trump’s statements about domestic politics on the call, which he characterized as “improper.”

Vindman is one of four key witnesses testifying at the House Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday. The others are: Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Pence, Tim Morrison, another senior NSC official, and Kurt Volker, a former envoy to Ukraine.

President Trump is claiming that he doesn’t know any of the witnesses testifying in impeachment proceedings, which would probably be irrelevant even if it were true; this strategy is about as effective as claiming that everyone involved is a “Never Trumper.

Meanwhile, Trump says that he would consider testifying on impeachment matters “in writing,” a claim the President made as news was breaking that House Democrats may also be looking into allegations that Trump lied to special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on Tuesday’s impeachment hearings.

 

► Today’s revelations could be just the appetizer to Wednesday’s main course, when EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland sits down in front of the House Intelligence Committee. Will Sondland have trouble “remembering” his July 26th telephone conversation with President Trump regarding efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden?

 

► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia and calls himself the “leader in the Senate” on issues relating to North Korea. Yet Gardner still hasn’t said a public word about President Trump’s recent decisions to weaken U.S. alliances with South Korea and Japan.

 

► Check out this week’s episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast for more on how Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) tries using the “Sideshow Bob” defense on impeachment.

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

“Freep” Doug Lamborn’s Impeachment Poll

As delivered via Rep. Doug Lamborn’s official email address!

Gentle readers, it goes to a real live online poll! By real of course we don’t mean, you know, real, as in a poll containing any even slightly reliable information. But in case you wanted the chance to let Colorado’s least accomplished congressman know how you feel about impeaching Donald Trump, here it sort of is.

And yes, by encouraging our readers to “reweight” this poll we’ve probably given Lamborn all the reason he needs to ignore it. But we’re pretty confident that unless it tells Lamborn what he wants to hear…he was going to ignore it anyway.

At Least It’s Not Your $450,000 Ad Campaign

TUESDAY UPDATE: Gov. Jared Polis responds:

Answer: something better.

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This ole boy is on meth.

As the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports, this is really real:

Gov. Kristi Noem has a message for South Dakota: “Meth. We’re On It.”

Noem launched her new anti-meth campaign on Monday to bring awareness to the meth epidemic in South Dakota that will include a new TV ad, billboards, posters and website. The campaign’s motto features the phrase, “Meth. We’re on it,” over an outline of South Dakota, and the ad and posters feature people of differing in ages and races saying, “I’m on meth…”

“This is our problem and together, we need to get on it,” Noem said.

You bet Governor, that’s the first thing we thought too! It’s either the worst PR campaign in “War on Drugs” history, or in some kind of extremely well thought out game of eight-dimensional mnemonic chess we’ll never understand…one of the best?

It’s probably not one of the best.

Trump Exerts Maximum Pressure…On SOUTH Korea

TUESDAY UPDATE (2:30PM): It’s been more than five days since President Trump decided to sideswipe American allies South Korea and Japan. Senator Cory Gardner, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia and calls himself “the leader in the Senate” on North Korea policy, remains silent.

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MONDAY UPDATE (3:10PM): Oh, look, the White House just created another problem with a key ally of the United States in Asia. From the The New Republic:

Last week, Trump announced that he would seek a fivefold increase in the nearly $1 billion a year South Korea contributes to maintain 28,500 U.S. troops that have been stationed there since the dawn of the Cold War; two days later, the administration announced it would demand that Japan pay $8 billion—four times its usual contribution—toward the cost of quartering 54,000 American servicemembers on its territory. Two of the most enduring, and sensitive, American alliances of the past half-century have now devolved into haggling over “cost sharing,” New York mob-protection-style.

It was only last May that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was calling for measures to strengthen the alliance between Japan and the United States — an alliance Gardner once called “the backbone of security and stability in Asia.” We’d tell you what Gardner had to say about President Trump’s latest demands of another key foreign partner, but the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia still isn’t talking.

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MONDAY UPDATE (10:30AM): Not a peep, and even North Korea doesn’t want another useless photo-op.

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SUNDAY UPDATE (6:15 pm): The self-proclaimed “leader in the Senate” on North Korea remains silent about Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on South Korea.

Also this weekend, the White House cancelled military exercises with South Korea after complaints from North Korea. Not a peep from Gardner on this development, either.

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SATURDAY UPDATE (11:30 am): The sound of silence continues.

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UPDATE (3:21 pm): Still no comment from Gardner, but his official Twitter account did find the time to send out a Veterans Day message this afternoon.

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UPDATE (2:19 pm): Crickets.

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UPDATE (11:56 am): Senator Gardner’s press office is apparently still functioning. Today they issued a press release about Gardner meeting with Energy Secretary nominee Dan Brouillette. Neat!
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Anytime you’re ready, Sen. Gardner…

“Maximum pressure.”

This is the phrase that Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) regularly deploys in discussions about American foreign policy toward North Korea and its efforts to become a nuclear power. As part of his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gardner serves as Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, where he fancies himself to be the Senate’s top dog on matters related to North Korea. In a press release from October 31, Gardner’s office states unequivocally: “Gardner has been the leader in the Senate in deterring North Korea’s heinous regime.”

Gardner is also a staunch defender of President Trump despite the fact that Trump regularly gives the Yuma Republican a North Korean wedgie. Given this background, we should all be anxious to hear what Gardner has to say about the latest news relating to U.S. foreign policy on the Korean Peninsula. As CNN reports:

 

(more…)

Angela Williams May Have Gambled and Lost

State Sen. Angela Williams (D-Denver)

If you were the betting type, you wouldn’t likely put a lot of money on the likelihood that State Senator Angela Williams (D-Denver) will be the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in June 2020. Williams entered the race for U.S. Senate in July with a sketchy announcement video and little fanfare; after four months as a candidate, she has less than $50,000 in the bank and no conceivable path toward the Democratic nomination.

When Williams entered the U.S. Senate race, she left the door open for a potential return to the state legislature (she actually filed paperwork for her 2020 re-election campaign to the State Senate shortly after winning election in 2016). But as political reporter Ernest Luning explained in a Tweet today, that door “appears to be swinging shut.”

Last week, state Rep. James Coleman (D-Denver) made it clear that he wasn’t waiting for Williams to re-focus her attention on her state senate district in announcing that he would be running for SD-33. Coleman quickly amassed a number of significant endorsements from Democratic lawmakers, including House Speaker K.C. Becker, Rep. Janet Buckner, and state Senators Jeff Bridges, Jessie Danielson, and Kerry Donovan.

Had Williams been focusing on running for re-election in 2020, it would have been difficult for Coleman to have gained much traction in a Democratic Primary challenge. In fact, Coleman probably wouldn’t have even made a State Senate bid in 2020. Coleman won a Democratic primary to succeed Williams in HD-7 in 2016, which means he could have sought re-election in the State House until Williams was term-limited in 2024.

Williams said last week that she thought she could wait until March 2020 to make a decision on staying in the U.S. Senate race or running for re-election in SD-33, but that seems like wishful thinking with Coleman gathering so much early support. If Williams is serious about winning a second term in the State Senate, she can’t spend the next 3-4 months flailing away at a U.S. Senate bid.

Pay-To-Play Ambassador–Because GOP Needs Another Scandal

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

CBS News reports on fresh scandal ensnaring the Republican National Committee, a problematic timeline of very large donation requests to a California billionaire hoping to become the next ambassador to the Bahamas:

A CBS News investigation has uncovered a possible pay-for-play scheme involving the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to the Bahamas. Emails obtained by CBS News show the nominee, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, was asked by the RNC to donate half a million dollars as his confirmation in the Senate hung in the balance, chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod reports…

To briefly summarize CBS’ reporting, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester was nominated right after President Donald Trump took office to be the next ambassador to the Bahamas. No action taken by the Senate to confirm Manchester for over two years. After Manchester organized a relief flight to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, Manchester received a favorable Tweet from Trump, followed three days later by a request from RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for $500,000 “from your family”–in implicit acknowledgement that Manchester himself as an nominee awaiting confirmation by the Senate could not ethically do so.

Three days after the tweet, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel hit up Manchester for a donation. It was no small sum. In an email, obtained exclusively by CBS News, she asked Manchester, “Would you consider putting together $500,000 worth of contributions from your family to ensure we hit our ambitious fundraising goal?”

This is a prime example of what’s known in the business of politics as “corruption.” And Manchester was ready to play ball:

The Senate confirmation process is exactly what Manchester quickly addressed. He wrote back to McDaniel’s request for $500,000, “As you know I am not supposed to do any, but my wife is sending a contribution for $100,000. Assuming I get voted out of the [Foreign Relations Committee] on Wednesday to the floor we need you to have the majority leader bring it to a majority vote … Once confirmed, I our [sic] family will respond!” [Pols emphasis]

In the wake of this email exchange, in which Manchester reportedly cc:ed a Republican Senator who then tipped off the White House, Manchester withdrew his nomination for “personal reasons.” But it shouldn’t end there: Ronna McDaniel’s request for Manchester to organize a $500,000 contribution from family members tacitly recognizes that the request was inappropriate. In any ordinary political environment, McDaniel would be clearing out her office immediately following publication of this story.

At the very least, we’re guessing Ronna’s uncle Mitt Romney is okay she dropped that maiden name.

Welcome Back, Ex-Rep. Judy Reyher!

Filed earlier this month, and the word we’re hearing is it’s for real:

Ex-Rep. Judy Reyher (R).

Readers will remember former Rep. Judy Reyher of House District 47, who was appointed to replace Clarice Navarro following Navarro’s patronage Trump administration appointment in return for campaigning as hard for Donald Trump in 2016 as she did for her own re-election. Rep. Reyher’s appointment to HD-47 quickly became a major embarrassment for the Colorado Republican Party after her extensive social media history of nasty-trending-wacky racist and other objectionable content was reported by statewide media. Responding to the Denver Post, Reyher attempted to defend herself by saying she “hated the black half of Obama as much as” she “hated the white half”–which to Reyher’s surprise did not make things better.

Reyher’s unsavory introduction to public service and ongoing foibles in the House led to a successful primary challenge in 2018 by Don Bendell, whose candidacy for HD-47 itself imploded when Bendell’s estranged children publicly accused him of shirking his child support obligations. Democratic Rep. Bri Buentello was the end result of this ill-fated attempt at red-on-red political euthanasia, but Bendell’s self-destruction has reportedly given Reyher’s brief career a new lease on life among area Republicans.

We’d say Buentello should be fine with that. Like Napoleon said, never get in the way of your opponent’s mistake.

Craig Silverman Canned For Criticizing Trump

SUNDAY UPDATE #3: The WhiteMaleVengers are combining their right-wing powers!

According to Chris Vanderveen of 9News, Team KNUS is holding a news conference tonight; all WhiteMaleVengers are expected to be in attendance.

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SUNDAY UPDATE #2: Here’s Craig Silverman on CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning:

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Craig Siverman.

SUNDAY UPDATE: As you can see, firing Craig Silverman on the air worked perfectly for keeping Silverman’s criticism of Donald Trump on the down low! Newsweek:

Craig Silverman told The Denver Post that he had been in the middle of a segment about Roy Cohn, Trump’s former personal attorney, on the conservative KNUS radio station when he was told by the station’s program director that he was “done.”

Silverman, who had hosted The Craig Silverman Show on Saturday mornings at the station for more than five years, told The Post that his last segment before he was taken off the air had been to “observe how toxic Trump is in Colorado.”

The Hill:

Silverman said program director Kelly Michaels entered the studio shortly afterward and simply told him “You’re done.”

“I cannot and will not toe strict Trump party line. I call things as I see them,” Silverman later tweeted. “I see corruption and blatant dishonesty by President and his cronies. I also see bullying/smearing of American heroes w/courage to take oath and tell truth. Their bravery inspires me.”

Daily Beast:

A Denver radio host says his conservative station booted him in the middle of his how because he played a clip that expressed criticism of President Trump. On his Saturday morning show, Craig Silverman, a former prosecutor, was sharing a 2015 interview with just-convicted Roger Stone in which Silverman said Trump’s relationship with the late lawyer Roy Cohn gave him pause…

The Wrap:

Silverman told the paper he was taken off the air for replaying a 2015 interview with Trump surrogate Roger Stone, who was found guilty on seven federal charges on Friday including witness tampering.

In the interview, Silverman told Stone that one of his biggest concerns with Trump was his connection to Roy Cohn, who assisted Joseph McCarthy in the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the 1950s and later served as Trump’s personal lawyer. The Colorado radio station promptly took Silverman off the air and removed the webpage for his show from their site.

The Denver Post’s Sam Tabachnik:

Representatives from KNUS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The page for Silverman’s show appears to have been removed from the station’s website. A link to his show gives a “404 Error — Not Found” message.

Silverman’s last segment of the hour, before he was taken off the air, was to “observe how toxic Trump is in Colorado,” he said in a text. “And to continue my show theme today that Democrats are making a strong case at the House impeachment hearing.”

…Silverman voted for Trump in 2016 and initially supported the president. But recent comments on Twitter, his radio show and in opinion pieces show his stance on the commander-in-chief has soured.

We’ll update with Silverman’s appearance on CNN this morning once it’s available. Safe to say that whatever objective the management of 710 KNUS had in mind when they undertook this heavy-handed Pravda-style on-air act of brazen censorship has not been achieved. Rather than helping squelch criticism of Trump, they’ve made an unlikely martyr of a low-rated weekend talk radio host who dared to do just that.

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UPDATE: Fired 710 KNUS host Craig Silverman throws down:

Thanks to his former management, we expect more people will see this message than ever listened to Silverman’s Saturday AM radio show.

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UPDATE: We don’t have any word from Craig Silverman yet on what happened this morning, but yesterday on Facebook he asserted that today’s show “may be the greatest show I’ve ever presented.” It would appear that the management of 710 KNUS did not agree:

Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is an American hero. I have seen countless witnesses testify and she was one of the all-time finest. Her poise, courage and credibility inspire me. If you missed it, watch below.

Scott Robinson, legendary Colorado trial lawyer and media star, will help me break down the testimony and occurrences at the proceedings this week against President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, and Patrick Frazee. This may be one of the most special episodes of Craig’s Lawyers’ Lounge in its six-year history.

In fact, this show may be the greatest show I’ve ever presented. But so much depends on your willingness to listen and dialogue as we unravel some of this country’s most important events. History is happening. And happening is history.

Where else you gonna go on the radio for independent analysis of the most important events of our time? Be prepared to be challenged. I am. Join me on the AM radio dial.

The Craig Silverman Show, 9-noon Saturday mornings, or on line any time at 710KNUS.com.

…And then they fired him. Stay tuned.

—–

Via CBS4’s Brian Maass, we’re looking for more details but it appears that longtime local talk radio host Craig Silverman of 710 KNUS was fired suddenly this morning after criticizing President Donald Trump on the air:

We’ve had our our differences with Silverman over the years, but he has earned a reputation for (at least graded on the talk radio curve) a greater degree of objectivity and a willingness to put hard questions to both sides.

Looks like you can’t do that on Denver talk radio anymore.

Weekend Open Thread

“There was never an angry man that thought his anger unjust.”

–Saint Francis de Sales

Lamborn Tosses Giuliani Under the Bus

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) as a fictional character.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) isn’t a member of the House Intelligence Committee (in any sense of the phrase) that is currently overseeing public impeachment hearings against President Trump, but that doesn’t mean he can’t try to advance his own ridiculous theory on the matter.

David Corn of Mother Jones and MSNBC apparently found Lamborn talking to reporters in Washington D.C. today on the second day of public impeachment hearings. Lamborn’s take on the Ukraine scandal is that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani acted as some sort of rogue actor:

LAMBORN: I have some questions about what Mr. Giuliani was doing. But that’s a side issue. That…that’s got really nothing to do with the President.

Lamborn’s comment is justifiably met with credulity from Corn, who tries unsuccessfully to get the Colorado Springs Republican to explain how 2+2 = 5.

REPORTER: But doesn’t it have everything to do with the President when the President is telling officials, ‘Talk to Rudy. Talk to Rudy.’

LAMBORN: Unless he [Giuliani] was off on his own mission doing things that people didn’t know about, kind of like a loose cannon. Then, that’s a Rudy Giuliani problem, not a President Trump one.

REPORTER: But, this is what I don’t get: The President told [Ukrainian President] Zelinsky, ‘I want you to talk to Rudy.’ The President told top diplomats when they came in to see him, ‘Talk to Rudy. Talk to Rudy.’ So the President is empowering Rudy Giuliani, so isn’t he responsible for Rudy Giuliani’s involvement in all of this? If he’s telling people, ‘Rudy’s my man.’

LAMBORN: He may have been wrong to trust Rudy Giuliani if Giuliani was doing things on his own that were improper. So maybe he was trusting him too much.

The reporter tries once more to get Lamborn to explain his incongruent logic, but Lamborn begs off by saying that he has to go vote on something.

You can watch the entire exchange below:

Witness Alleges Intimidation, So Trump Responds with Threats

If Trump believed in Climate Change, he’d have something else to blame for all of this heat.

The second day of public testimony on impeachment hearings against President Trump took a very Trumpian direction today. As the Associated Press reports:

Former U.S. Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch provided chilling detail Friday in Trump impeachment hearings of being suddenly ousted from her post and feeling threatened upon learning President Donald Trump had denounced her in a July phone call with Ukraine’s president. In that call, Trump assailed her as “bad news” and said she was “going to go through some things.”

In an extraordinary moment, even in an administration filled with them, Trump himself went after her again as she spoke, tweeting from the White House that everywhere she served had “turned bad.” He emphasized that as president he had the “absolute right” to appoint his own ambassadors…[Pols emphasis]

…After Trump’s tweet on Friday, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee swiftly intervened, halting the questioning to read the president’s comments out loud to the witness — and Americans following the hearing — during a live broadcast across the country.

“Ambassador Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter,” said Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California. “What effect do you think that has on other witnesses’ willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?”

“Well, it’s very intimidating,” she said.

But don’t worry about any of this; the White House issued a statement saying that President Trump’s Tweets are “not witness intimidation.” Trump himself later defended his Tweets by saying, “I have freedom of speech, just like other people do.”

It’s hard to think that a person could be handling this any worse, but if anybody can find a way…

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